Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Thoroughly Cleansed

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“If we confess our sins, he is faithful
and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
—1 John 1:9

Have you ever driven your car or truck into an automated car wash and sat there while the machinery washed your vehicle? Once the wash, rinse, and dry cycles are complete, have you then driven your vehicle out of the car wash, stopped, and carefully examined the results?

Sometimes, upon close inspection, you will discover that the automated system did not get every last bit of dirt and grime off your car or truck. Why? Because the system is only designed to do a “good enough” job. But, it is not necessarily designed to do a completely thorough job of washing your vehicle. As is often the case, “good” is the enemy of “great.”

When it comes to cleansing our hearts and minds from the ravages of sin, the blood of Jesus always does a perfect job of removing the sin stain. His washing is thorough. He leaves no part of us unwashed.

The Apostle John put it this way in 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The word “purify” means thoroughly clean, all the way through. That is very good news for us, as we begin a new day.

Through the sacrifice of His one and only Son, God has provided a means of thoroughly cleansing us from sin. Because of His mercy, grace, and love, we are clean clear through.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

No Other Gods

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“I am the Lord your God, who brought you
out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
You shall have no other gods before me.”
—Exodus 20:2-3

Today’s verse comes from the portion of the Old Testament Scriptures that we frequently refer to as “The Ten Commandments.” These ten principles came as a gift from God to His chosen people, Israel, through God’s servant Moses. They were so important that God engraved them on two stone tablets. These ten absolute rules were to guard and guide His people along the pathway of their lives.

Of primary importance was the commandment to have no other gods in one’s life. And, while we often think about the secular gods of other religions, this commandment indicates that, in our lives as followers of God, we should have nothing that gets in between us and God. That means no human being, no possession, no desire, no achievement, nothing—absolutely nothing—must come between us and the God who loves us and sacrificed His Son, Jesus, in our behalf.

Here’s the verse from Exodus 20:2-3:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.

God declares that He is the “I am.” He is the One who has accomplished anything and everything in our lives that merits any attention. He has brought us out of the slavery to sin and death and placed us before His throne as redeemed, covered with the cleansing blood of His Son. Surely, He merits our undivided hearts and undistracted minds.

As we begin a new day, let’s determine to remember that we can allow nothing to come between us and God. He will not permit any other “god” in our life, but Himself. And, that, my dear ones, is a marvelous truth.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Everything is Possible

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Everything is possible for him who believes.”
—Mark 9:23b

Have you ever faced something in your life that you felt you could not possibly achieve or accomplish? Maybe it was an assignment at work. Or, perhaps you had a family situation that you could not possibly see how you would handle it.

Most of us have situations that arise in our lives that cause us to doubt if we have what it takes to move forward. That’s part of Satan’s attempts to discourage us and turn us away from God.

Fortunately, we have the perfect antidote in these trying situations. It comes to us in the very words of Jesus, spoken to the father who had brought his son to Jesus. The boy was afflicted with an impure spirit. This child had suffered much throughout his life because of the torment this evil spirit caused. The father tentatively approached Jesus and asked Him to heal the son. In response, Jesus offered these encouraging words, found in Mark 9:23b:

“Everything is possible for him who believes.”

That is as true for us today as it was for that long-ago dad. If we believe wholeheartedly, we will find that God responds to our belief. When our faith wavers, God will bolster our faith to enable us to believe in an otherwise impossible situation.

Evangelist and Pastor, Daniel Paul Rader, former pastor of Moody Memorial Church in downtown Chicago, wrote a very sweet little gospel hymn back in 1921 that captures the essence of Jesus’ words to the despairing father:

Fear not, little flock, from the cross to the throne,
From death into life He went for His own;
All power in earth, all power above,
Is given to Him for the flock of His love.

Refrain: Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe,
Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe.

Fear not, little flock, He goes on ahead,
Your Shepherd selects the path you must tread;
The waters of Marah He’ll sweeten for thee,
He drank all the bitter in Gethsemane.

Refrain: Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe,
Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe.

Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot,
He enters all rooms, “the doors being shut,”
He never forsakes; He never is gone,
So count on His presence in darkness and dawn.

Refrain: Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe,
Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible, only believe.

As we begin a new day, let’s cling to the reality that our faith in God through His Son, Jesus, will enable us to receive a great bounty of God’s richest blessings. In the most difficult of circumstances, the Holy Spirit will increase our faith and enable us to move forward with peace in our hearts and joy at what God will accomplish through our faith.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The First Step
A Tribute to Fathers on “Father’s Day”

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the
church and gave himself up for her to make her holy.”
—Ephesians 5:25-26

Today we give special recognition to fathers. While some will say this is only a holiday to promote greeting cards and telephone calls, the fact remains that we owe a great deal to our fathers. This is particularly true if our dads were godly men who raised us to love and follow Jesus.

Of course, not all fathers were honorable. Some of you reading this may well have had a dad that was the exception to the rule. Instead of a loving, caring self-sacrificing individual, your dad was harsh, cruel, or even abusive. My heart aches for you. I hope you will remember on this Father’s Day that you have a heavenly Father who loves you with His immense, unfailing, unconditional love. He is your true Father.

For the rest of us who did have decent dads, I want to assert that the first step in becoming a proper father is for that man to love his wife. In fact, the Apostle Paul, who, like me, had never had the privilege of being a dad, gave some very profound and wise advice to the early Christians. Notice what Paul wrote, as recorded in Ephesians 5:25-26:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy.

Paul strongly urges fathers to love their wives with the same kind of devotion that the Lord Jesus Christ showed to His Body, the Church. This is literally a self-sacrificing, compassionate love that always has the best interests of the beloved at the forefront of one’s thinking.

This new day, even as we say a well-deserved “Thank You!” to our dads, let’s remember to follow Paul’s advice.

As husbands, and particularly as fathers, let’s determine to love our wives with the same commitment that our Savior showed to those who belonged to Him. This is the first step toward becoming a proper father.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, June 15, 2018

He Gives Strength and Protection

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen
and protect you from the evil one.”
—2 Thessalonians 3:3

More than forty years ago, I sat in the studios of Radio Station WIHS in Middletown, Connecticut, near the end of my Saturday morning shift, which had begun at 5:30 in the morning. Soon after I finished delivering the Noon newscast, I had the privilege of pushing a button that started the 15-minute broadcast of “The Chapel of the Air.”

On this particular Saturday, a man who would soon after become my lifelong spiritual mentor, Rev. David R. Mains, began talking about a passage of Scripture found in 1 Peter 5:8-11:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Rev. Mains illustrated his point, in this first of what would become three messages, by insisting that Satan’s desire is to destroy. The enemy of our soul wants to see Christians crushed under a weight of sin and faithlessness.

I remember sitting in the control room, staring at the audio console, and thinking about how profoundly true this particular point was in my own life and in the lives of countless believers that I knew. As the 15-minute broadcast came to an end with the lovely bass tones of announcer Tedd Seelye, I made a note that I would have to be certain to listen to the next two broadcasts in order to hear the rest of the story.

I did just that. And, in those two follow-ups I learned that while Satan’s desire is to destroy, our opportunity is to resist and overcome, and God’s endeavor is to equip (us to do so). Those three broadcasts gave me the clearest insight I had ever had into the struggle that constantly goes on in the Christian life: We have a real enemy and he is definitely out to get us!

Interestingly, the Apostle Paul shared much this same truth with the Christians gathered at the church in Thessalonica, as written in 2 Thessalonians 3:3:

The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

As we begin a new day, let’s cling to the reality that God waits to protect us from the one who would damage our souls. Satan was defeated by Christ on the cross. It’s as if Satan doesn’t yet realize this truth and continues to wreak havoc among Christians.

Prayerfully, let’s ask God to protect us this day, and every day. We do well to remember that God is faithful. He will give us His strength. He will protect us from the evil one.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Through Many Hardships

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


They (Paul and Barnabas) preached the
gospel in that city
(Derbe) and won a
large number of disciples. Then they returned
to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening
the disciples and encouraging them to remain
true to the faith. “We must go through many
hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
—Acts 14:21-22

If you are looking for a true adventure story, let me urge you to read the entirety of the Book of Acts. Written by Dr. Luke as a sequel to his gospel, this Book contains the exciting stories that tell of the birth of the Church during the first century A.D.

You will find intrigue, as well as the story of how the gospel begins to penetrate the then-known-world, changing lives, pushing against the culture of the day, and exposing a secular society to the claims of the Son of God.

As just one example, here’s Dr. Luke’s account of part of the work of the Apostle Paul and his sidekick, Barnabas, as found in Acts 14:21-22:

They (Paul and Barnabas) preached the gospel in that city (Derbe) and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

Imagine the information packed into this verse. Paul and Barnabas preach in the city of Derbe, where a large number of people are welcomed into God’s Kingdom. Then they return to three key cities in what was then called “Asia Minor” and we now know as the country of Turkey.

A major responsibility that Paul and Barnabas had was to strengthen those followers of Jesus who had already responded to the gospel by encouraging them to remain true to their new-found faith. This was very important because the culture of the society of that day was always trying to lure them back into former evil behaviors.

Even today, as we begin a new day, it is important for us to interact with our fellow believers in a manner that will encourage them to remain true to their faith in Christ. By strengthening each other, we can fulfill a significant responsibility we have toward our fellow believers.

When we go through the hardships that will inevitably come, we can rest assured that, by giving and receiving support to our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can all continue to move forward along the pathway that God has laid out before us.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

We Will Sing

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength;
we will sing and praise your might.”
—Psalm 21:13

Whenever we read from the Psalms, we can take delight—great delight—from the fact that whatever we’re reading was intended as a song. Those of us who really enjoy singing, can recognize the privilege we have to sing along with the saints from the ages, including the millions of God’s chosen people.

Even if we only sing privately, perhaps while beginning our day in the shower, we can recognize that God delights in the songs of His people. That’s right. God delights in the songs of His people.

As we begin this new day, let’s look at just one verse from Psalm 21:13:

Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might.

It’s as if King David, the author of this song, wanted to tell the people, “Now, listen up! This is what we’re going to be singing about today!” Then, he proceeds to tell them, and God as well, that today’s song will focus on exalting God because of His incredible strength and praising His unimaginable might. God is so very strong and so very powerful that we do well to praise Him for His strength and might.

Let’s not lose sight of the great joy that is ours in singing praises to this powerful and mighty God who loves us with His everlasting, unfailing, unending love. And, let’s keep fully in our minds and hearts at all times that God delights in the songs of His people.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.